[Spellyans] The Cornish for 'to argue'

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 10:31:03 BST 2014

The default word in the revived language for ‘to argue, to debate’ seems to be dadhla, dala (UC dathla). Although unattested there it has Welsh congener in daddlu. The attested words for ‘to argue, to debate’ are argya, debâtya, dyspûtya and rêsna.

argye na moy thy'n ny reys na keusel na moy gerryow PC 2467-68
Ny thue les agen argya kyn feny oma vyketh BM 891-92
argya orto ny ammont BM 3332

mara tuen ha debatya mas an nyyl party omma ov teberth purguir ny warth BM 3476-79 

cayphas re hyrghys thywhy a thos the ierusalem the dysputye worth ihesu PC 1648-50
rak me a vyn dysputye worth ihesu a nazare PC 1717-18

Pan a vater a vea hemma thynny omma besy the resna warnotha TH 55
ny amownt thymma resna genas noy CW 2395-96.

A noun dal, dadhel (UC dathel) ‘argument’ is also commonly used, although it is also not attested in the texts. The word for ‘argument’ in traditional Cornish is argùment, pl. argùmentys:

me a'n conclud yredy ma na wothfo gorthyby vn reson thu'm argument PC 1659-61
Na esyn vsya Argumentys mas vsya exampels Christ SA 61.

All these items (argya < arguen, debâtya < debaten, dyspûtya < disputen, rêsna < resounen and argùment < argument) are borrowing from Middle English, which probably accounts for the popularity of *dadhla and *dadhel. On the other hand argya, rêsna and argùment are all attested in more than one text. This would seem to indicate that they were integral parts of the Cornish lexicon. 

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